1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something I am working on, or we are doing at PCI in our quest to earn a spot on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Last Friday, I wrote about my experience articulating my purpose, which I first did more than twenty years ago when I participated in Stagen‘s year-long Integral Leadership Program.  

Purpose answers the “why” question: Why do I exist?  What’s the meaning in my life and in my work?  What’s my reason for being?   Above and beyond making money, what difference do I make?

My purpose: “Learn, stretch, dream, go.  Inspire and empower others to do the same.”

Purpose is a portal which transforms how we think about the time we are given here on earth.  Becoming clear on our purpose brings light and awareness to our life. Purpose acts as a filter which explains why some activities, experiences, and people bring us joy.  While others do not.  

When we live “on purpose,” life has infinitely greater meaning, delight, and impact. 

2: This year, I have the privilege of participating in Stagen’s Advanced Leadership Program.  It’s been a powerful learning experience.  The framework of the program is organized around Joseph Campbell‘s Hero’s Journey

My “call to adventure” this year involves becoming a more evolved leader.  “More questions and less answers” is my goal.  I am looking to be a “strengths finder”–identifying and calling out others’ talents and capabilities.  I am seeking to challenge others, to “delegate and elevate” those around me. 

At our quarterly Stagen workshop last month, we were journaling after listening to a clip from Maya Angelou:

“When it looks like the sun will not shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds. . . And I have had so many rainbows in my clouds.  I have had a lot of clouds, but I have had so many rainbows . . . And the thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so that you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.  Somebody who may not look like you, may not call God the same name you call God, if they call God at all, you see.  They may not eat the same dishes prepared the way you do, may not dance your dances, or speak your language, but be a blessing to somebody.”

Maya’s words struck me.  I began thinking about being a husband.  About being a dad.  I was reminded of the exercise Stephen Covey writes about in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, where we are transported to our own funeral.  Family members, close friends and colleagues are giving our eulogy. What would we like each of these speakers to say about us and how we lived our life?

Begin with the end in mind, Stephen tells us.

He was a “rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.” Powerful.  He was a “blessing to somebody.”  Yes.  That’s what I want to be.  That’s what I’d like my wife Carey to say about me. That’s what I’d like our kids to say about me. My mind continued to wander.  All of the people I work with.  My friends. My extended family.  A rainbow in their clouds. 

3: And then I had what felt like an epiphany.  The image of a rainbow in the clouds was another way of expressing my purpose: Inspiring and empowering others to learn, stretch, dream, go.  

But now these words had more weight.  The path of my purpose seemed clearer.  These were not just thoughts in my head but a feeling in my chest.  What if I could show up this way in my life?  For the people I love and care about.  But more than even that.  Not just those who are doing life with me, but all the small interactions we all have each day.  Every day.  At Starbucks.  Or in the grocery line.  

Perhaps even some of you reading this today.

More next week!


Reflection:  What is my purpose?

Action:  Block out some time to define or refine. 

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